Article by: Maddy Young

Photos by: Larry Young

Pull out your leather jackets, your chokers and your crop tops; we’re headed to the 90’s!  Summerland Tour 2016 arrived Friday night at Billy Bob’s in Ft. Worth and brought along the timeless music stylings of Sponge, LIT, Everclear, and Sugar Ray. It was an MTV Spring Break party all over again.

Sponge started the night with a five-song set opening with the title track from their 1996 album “Wax Ecstatic .”  Front man Vinnie Dombroski, the only remaining member from the classic lineup, dove right into their hit “Molly (16 Candles Down the Drain),” and played it with an intensity that made it fresh. A new song, “Jump While the House is on Fire,” was offered surprisingly full-throttle.

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LIT threw the crowd for a loop, the alt punk rhythms and 90’s lyrics brought the crowd to their feet. LIT pulled out all the old stops, playing favorites including their crowd pleaser, “My Own Worst Enemy”, as well as bringing in new songs to promote their up and coming record. We caught up with LIT after their set, and interestingly enough, there is never a break between the Dad life and the rock star life. The band brought their family and kids on tour with them this summer. “We are excited to be able to show our music and our love of music to our children and families.” In regards to playing in Texas, the members of LIT all agreed, “We love Ft. Worth and Dallas! It’s always one of our favorite place to tour, so many friendly fans and the best scene for art and music.”

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Art Alexakis of Everclear is responsible for putting together this package tour every summer for the past few years. The concept is simple: all the songs you remember from these bands packed into short sets with no suffering through “Here’s another one from our new album.” They had the house rocking. Their hard 90’s rock sound and feel gave fans exactly what they’ve been missing. They played songs everyone knew and adored, such as “Sparkle and Fade” So Much for the Afterglow”, and hit singles “Father Of Mine” and “Wonderful” that even the youngest fans cheering and dancing. They relied heavily on a drum and guitar riff to push their extraordinary sound forward, proving that the 90’s weren’t just bubble gum pop.

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With multiple platinum albums and four top ten songs, Sugar Ray was here to finish off the party. Of all the artist who performed, vocalist Mark McGrath had the most to say to the crowd. He talked about how, back in the band’s heyday, people were buying vinyl albums, “and then there was MTV.”  He said that he still can’t “believe after all these years I get to do this for a living.” He feigned hip trouble as he skipped across stage on “When It’s Over,” and jokingly told the crowd was a bad name choice for his last hit. Some of the familiar tunes that had many singing along were “Someday”, “Every Morning” and of course”Fly”. But what surprised me was when Sugar Ray performed “Blitzkrieg Bop” by The Ramones. It was definitely unexpected, so props to them. The group also made the set interesting by performing part of Sublimes “What I Got” and a very tight version of EMF’s “Unbelievable”.

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When the show ended and the crowd arrived back to 2016, it was clear that the SUMMERLAND TOUR and the participating bands had delivered an impressive show to end the summer on a high note. I hope to see another SUMMERLAND TOUR in 2017!

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